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Thames and Kosmos Air + Water Power Kit – Amaze your friends and build 15 different models

Thames & Kosmos produces exciting science kits for our new generation of engineers. The kits are numerous, and remind me of both the classic Erector sets and Capsela building sets from the 80s.

I have focused on the "Thames & Kosmos Air + Water Power Kit," because of its overall appeal to most youngsters ages 8 and up. This kit will allow you to build your own models powered by either water or air, and learn some basic Physics laws at the same time. The water-jet propelled cars can be used outdoors, while the Hydro-pneumo powered models can be used indoors or out.

There are 15 different models to choose from, including a truck, excavator, plane, helicopter and tank.
Everything you need to complete each model is included in the "Thames & Kosmos Air + Water Power Kit." There is a 48 page color instruction manual outlining the step by step assembly process, and there are 165 building pieces in the complete kit.

Parents will love the educational value of such a kit, while the kids will be begging to stay up late to complete their next project.  The "Thames & Kosmos Air + Water Power Kit" retails for just $39.99 and can be bought at  Don't forget to also check out their line of "Little Labs" for children 5 years old and up.  This is one great toy.  It'll earn a Toys Bulletin Gold Rating.
-- RJ Cullen
*Gold Rating*
Posted in Building, Learning

Fun Fly Stick by Unitech – A Magic Wand with Special Powers

The "Fun Fly Stick" is basically a very clever levitation device. With the popularity of the "Harry Potter" books and movies, kids will consider this a magic wand with special powers.

The "Fun Fly Stick" measures 19 inches long and comes with five very fragile tinsel or foil flyers. The special power is called "electrostatic." By rotating the wand, the flyers float through the air at your command, changing directions and defying the laws of gravity. There is a ten page instruction manual and you supply two AA batteries.

The recommendation on this is for those 10 years old and up, due to the fragility of the flyers.  Adults are buying these as fast as the kids, as they are popping up in offices across the country.
There is something very relaxing about seeing these flyers levitate, and I can personally vouch for  my strange addiction to the "Fun Fly Stick.

Visit to buy it for less than $20.00, and just go ahead and buy the "Fun Flyers refill 5 pack ($4.95) at the same time," because you will damage the original tinsel flyers. Also, check out the demonstration videos below on "You Tube" to see the "Fun Fly Stick" really do some tricks.

Video 1
Video 2

-- RJ Cullen
Posted in Learning, Remote Control

Tolo Activity Shape Box

Many of you may not have heard of the toy brand "Tolo." Tolo Toys Ltd. was established in 1985 and is a British owned company, headquartered in Hong Kong. "Tolo" is known throughout the toy industry as a leader in developmental toys for young children.

The quality, playability and durability of their complete line of toys is legendary. It is not unusual for a "Tolo" toy to be passed down to a younger brother or sister, and for the toy to still appear totally fresh and like new.

There are approximately 200 different toys in the complete "Tolo" line. I have reviewed and purchased several dozen over the past few years, but I decided to choose the "Tolo Shape Box" to review here. It is very representative of a typical "Tolo" toy.
The "Tolo Shape Box" is made of durable hard ABS plastic, and teaches matching and shape sorting.  In fact, individual pieces act as their own rattle, each making their own sound.  There are 6 different shapes in all.  The box itself has a lever to pull, a wheel to spin, and everything can be housed inside, with a carry handle included.  It is recommended for ages 12 months and older.

The "Tolo Shape Box" has received the prestigious "Parent's Choice Best Toy Gold Award," the "Dr. Toy Best Toy Gold Award," and the "Practical Pre-school Bronze Award."   "The Tolo Shape Box" retails for around $18.00 and can be seen and purchased here (Tolo Activity Shape Box).  Remember to look at the full-line of "Tolo" toys.  The selection will amaze you.

This one receives a Silver rating.
-- Andrew Joseph
Posted in Building, Learning

Lock Harbour and Marina by Aquaplay

Aquaplay is the premier manufacturer of high quality water toys for children. The toys are made in Sweden and the quality is amazing.

Aquaplay makes imaginative portable water stations, that include canal systems, paddle wheels, water pumps, and a basic lock system. They even produce waterfalls, sailboats, barges and small figures that can be used in many of the sets.

I chose to recommend the "Lock Harbour and Marina" because I frankly never understood how locks worked in the first place. I did after spending some time with this toy. I honestly feel like I just had a fundamental engineering lesson. The "Lock Harbour and Marina" is on the high end of the Aquaplay line of toys. All components are made of high quality recyclable plastic and can be used indoors or out.
This set includes lock, paddlewheel, water gate, small harbor, crane with bucket, barge, marina, car, curved and straight sections to hold things together and several figures too.  Add some water and watch things happen.

Although the "Lock Harbour and Marina" retails for anywhere between $120 and $160, Aquaplay makes many starter sets for as low $17.  I would suggest that to get the full educational value from this toy, it would be best for those 3 years old and up.

But don't forget those starter sets for the younger kids.
-- Lance Manion
Posted in Building, Learning

Peek-a-Boo Bags by I-Play

Sometimes the Sunday newspaper advertising inserts surprise this reviewer with something unusual. An article proclaiming "Peek-a-Boo Bags" as being great stocking stuffers for under $20 made this writer stop to read more. What in the world were "Peek-a-Boo Bags?" As a reviewer, toys are my business, but this one was not on the radar.

So, guess what, this writer went out and bought two of them, and they are as much fun as that Sunday newspaper suggested. "Peek-a-Boo Bags" are simply cloth bags that are approximately 6" square in size. There is a plastic "see through" window on the front of the bag and the bag itself is filled with small white beads.  This creates a very squishy little package.  But there are also hidden treasures inside the bag.  Youngsters have to move the beads around by pushing and squeezing to find out what is inside.  

There are three different bags available, a pink one containing about 20 little girl items, like a small purse or a heart, a blue bag containing about 20 little boy items, like a dinosaur or a car, and a third bag containing all 26 letters of the alphabet.  There is a list of what is contained in the pink and blue bags attached to each.

The idea is for the parent to remove the list, and then call out items, or letters of the alphabet, to their child and then let them try to find them.  Kids hunt for the named item
and once found, another is called out to them.

This is great for travel, or long waits almost anywhere.  There can be races to see who can find the item first, or find one of a certain color.  The possibilities are endless.  It is intended for children 3 years and older, and requires no cleanup and creates no mess at all.  But remember parents, do not lose that list of what is contained in the bags.  It might be a good idea to make a backup copy of the list for safekeeping just in case.  "Peek-a-Boo Bags" retail for under $14.99 and can be found at 

Silver Award

-- RJ Cullen
Posted in Games, Learning

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